Lockdown Locals 1 – Cunswick Scar – Gamblesmire Lane

We are extremely fortunate to live in an area where we can walk from our front door and be in beautiful countryside. During Lockdown we have re-discovered some routes we hadn’t walked for a while and discovered some new ones we will definitely walk again. This series will show a few of those…

The first walk is a nice round walk beginning at Crook Road, just a little way past the Plumgarths Farm Shop on the outskirts of Kendal, up onto Cunswick Scar, along the top of the Scar to the junction with Gamblesmire Lane. We followed the path past the limekiln, down to Cunswick Hall and then sneakily continued along the ‘Private Road’ until we came back to the Crook Road. Interestingly we had presumed this ‘Private Road’ was fine to walk down and we had no issues, in fact we walked it twice in a couple of weeks with no problem. Unfortunately one of our teens went out for a socially distanced wander with friends (when they were allowed to) and got shouted at by a grumpy man at the farm so I’m guessing it’s not! I wonder if he would have shouted at us rather then a few teenagers minding their own business – I doubt it!!

We did a variation of this walk a couple of weeks later going in the opposite direction but dropping off Cunswick Scar down through Scar Woods and through Ash Spring before heading along Gamblesmire Lane and back up onto the Scar. The woods in springtime were just beautiful.

Arran Coastal Way – Lamlash to Whiting Bay

(Walked May 2019 – catching up!)

It was another sunny day and I was looking forward to this walk as it was going around the Viking fort at Kingscross Point and I had been told that it was a beautiful walk.

It started along the stoney beach so I was glad the tide was out. This was interspersed with a wooden boardwalk which brings you up off the beach into the pretty woodland along the edge of the shore. Walking in May meant there were bluebells and garlic in abundance and it all felt slightly magical! The only blot on the landscape (literally!) is the commercial Salmon Farm just offshore with it’s constant hum of engine noise from the boat there. I did wonder how they had managed to get permission for this to be sited there, not far from the ‘No Take Zone’, only later finding out that there is a lot of objections to it from locals.

Shame about the Salmon Farm! Still beautiful though.

As you near Kingscross Point the path takes you up off the beach and along some pleasant tracks through fields until it drops back down, I guess due to privately owned sections of shoreline. You come back to the sea where a gorgeous house looks out over to the Holy Isle lighthouse…a beautiful place to live.

Looking over to the lighthouse on Holy Isle

Then it all got a little bit bazarre! I stopped at a little stoney beach to take in the view and found a lady sitting on a rock smoking a cigar! It turned out she was Italian with very little English and posed on the rock while I took a photo for her before I moved on. The path then went across a section which was nicely cut and manicured, almost like a flat football field…weird!

Wandered up through the fort and stopped to have some lunch before heading off into Whiting bay. After a coffee stop it was time to head for the pretty painted bus stop before heading back to the tent for tea.

Definitely do bus stops in style on Arran.

The Dovedale Round – Wainwrights, Birketts, Hewitts and Nuttalls (and lots of swearing!)

More recently I’ve shied away from doing any higher level walks due to health and worry about keeping up with other people (I’m a plodder!) So when a group of Home Ed friends said they were doing The Dovedale Round I wasn’t convinced. However, Teen 2 decided he wanted to give it a go, and being assured it wasn’t too steep, off we went.

Of course, if I’d been a bit more sensible, I would have checked the contour lines on the map beforehand but maybe that would have put me off completely!

We followed this route description (Walklakes – Dovedale Round) but did it backwards, so in theory we had the steepest part first and then a nice gentle wander along the ridge on the way back (yes, this was advised by the same person who said it wasn’t too steep!) The route takes in High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Hartsop Above How, Gale Crag and a few other lumps and bumps – 5 Wainwrights, 6 Birketts, 3 Hewitts and 3 Nuttalls…phew, no wonder it was tough!

The younger and fitter ones in the group seemed to have boundless energy and made it look easy while I had resorted to counting 40 steps, stopping, 40 steps, stopping (my strategy for coping with tough hills!) There were a few choice words along the way muttered descreetly to myself. The really steep descent on a loose stone path at the end was almost my breaking point – but WE DID IT!

The sun had shone all day, not a drop of rain, just a cold wind on the tops so almost perfect walking weather. The views were absolutely amazing and getting up high was fantastic, even through all the pain! After all the moaning and groaning, I’m really glad we did it, just goes to show how much more our bodies are capable of than we think they are. Teen 2 was a star, always checking back with me to make sure I was ok, making sure I knew about loose rocks and wet slippery bits.. proud mum moments!

Down but not out…

I haven’t been out much this last week or so, the weather has been pants here and work seems to have taken over my life! When the sun has decided to put in an appearance it’s usually been on days when I’ve had to be taxi-driver for the teenagers. All in all, frustrating and I’m tired and grouchy (had you guessed!?)

Anyway…a quick update on how I’m getting on with getting bits and pieces for doing the Arran Coastal Walk in May. Firstly I’ve picked up a nearly new Down 2-3 season sleeping bag which is fantastic and a nearly new pair of Craghoppers Kiwi Pro-Stretch trousers which are as comfy as all the ladies who rave about them said they were! I have a new pair of walking shoes (don’t really like boots) from Karrimor on their way and I’ve decided I really need another tent…3kg is just too much weight to carry. The rucksack we have is not ideal but this will have to be last on my list of things I can afford, so that would be a bonus.

So, things are ticking over, my birthday is in three days so fingers crossed a tent appears!!

Endurance or enjoyment?

I read a post on one of my favourite Facebook pages the other day where a lady was asking about completing the Arran Coastal Way in less days than the suggested six/seven because the daily mileage didn’t seem high enough (slightly paraphrased!) I think I was tired and grumpy and my hackles rose just a little bit. For a brief moment I felt as if my efforts weren’t quite good enough. I am planning to take the whole six/seven days, take in the scenery, explore the caves, swim in the sea and plod along happily… I got over myself!

I’m a 46 (ahem) year old mother, staring the menopause straight in the face, a dodgy hip and 17 years of hypothyroidism under my belt. I never have been and never will be super fit, super energetic and super enthusiastic about notching up as many miles in a day that I possibly can… and it doesn’t matter.

It’s so interesting reading other people’s posts and blogs, finding out about their adventures and their plans, some I would jump at given the chance, and others I would run a mile from (if I had enough energy!) Everyone is different, with different bodies, different opportunities, different wishes and that’s what makes the world go around.

My plan to walk the Arran Coastal Way on my own, wild camping, carrying all my equipment may be a drop on the ocean for some people but it’s a biggie for me, one that makes me nervous and excited at the same time. The reasons are many, life is short and it’s too easy to get dragged along in the everyday of ‘getting by’. So, enjoyment or endurance? Personally, I would choose enjoyment every time.